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  1. #1
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    Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    There is a giant article in today's LA Times about rye whiskey being "back in vogue." It talks about George Washington and the cornerstone being laid, some history, tasting notes, etc. I'm sure it nothing that readers of SB don't already know but it is always interesting when articles like this are in more "mainstream" publications.

    Here's a link if anyone wants to read it:

    www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-rye28sep28,0,2392610.story?coll=la-home-food

    Mark

  2. #2
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    Ha! I knew it!

    I see this as a next logical step in the progression that started in the 90s, when suddenly after decades of neglect consumers suddenly took an interest in more robust, darker styles of beer, fueling the microbrewery explosion and resulting in a much wider selection of beer in most stores now, even if the vast mass of humanity still appears to favor Miller Lite. Since I was one of those consumers interested in more interesting beer, and subsequently I got interested in spirits, including rye whiskey, I figured I was not alone---it appears the interest in more interesting spirits is finally reaching critical mass, and the world at large is taking notice.

    Perhaps now rye will take off as a new hip spirit, although I suspect few of us will complain. I can see it appealing to the same people who are not really brown spirit enthusiasts but drink Jack Daniel's in such vast quantities.

    Hopefully, somebody at Barton will realize that rye is a hot product, and expand distribution of Fleishmann's.

  3. #3
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    I've never tried a straight rye whiskey. Any suggestions? Is Wild Turkey a good one to go with to see if I like it?

  4. #4
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    Interesting article. Word is getting around, I hope the glitterati in L.A. take to this drink, it could be the next big thing. Larry Kass, are you listening?

    I wonder about some of the information offered, e.g., that old rye becomes sharp. He gave the source for that, a person at Buffalo Trace, and fair enough but I would not agree with that assessment in general. He said, without quoting the source, that Maryland whiskey was grassy and Pennsylvania rye, sweet and brooding. That may be true but I wish I knew the source of that. From my knowledge, Maryland rye was fruity-like, which is confirmed on the back label of the current Pikesville (which however doesn't taste fruity to me). The estery taste possibly resulted from the addition of blending agents. Pennsylvania rye was more like, well, who really knows? The historical ryes Dave Gonano has kindly brought to Gazebo were interesting but may have evolved in the bottle and I am not sure we will ever know what they were like on release. And, I am not sure I would call his Pennsylvania Overholt sweet, it was kind of toasty and woody I'd say (sweet pecan with an edge?). Oh well, we'll never know for sure I guess and probably each maker in the rye States had its own style anyway..

    I note some apparent confusion with Canadian rye whisky. Canadian rye is included in his list of sample products at the end of the article. But Canadian whisky is not a straight whiskey. This is acknowledged in the article because at one point he states there is not that much "rye" in Canadian whisky today, but he also says two "straight" ryes are made in Alberta and not available in the U.S. Well, they aren't available in Canada either as far as I know. He may be thinking e.g., of Alberta Distillers' rye whiskies but albeit made from 100% rye they are blended whiskies and not straights. And if they are not straights, the fact that they are made from all-rye cereals (plus barley malt) is not that significant since the high proof of the base will be relatively flavourless. Maybe he is referring to the straight-type whisky made in-house by (some) distillers in Canada and used only for blending, but since not available at retail, I don't think he meant that. The Hirsch Canadian ryes are no doubt quite good but (again as far as I know) they are not straight rye whiskey and why include them in this article and not any other example of Canadian whisky?

    Anyway these quibbles aside, it is a good article and hopefuly will do much to spur further interest in this drink.

    I recall that when I joined this board there was very little interest in rye, even here. Things have changed, and that's good.

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    Yes, I think that the Wt rye would be a good place to start. I would recommend the Van WInkle rye, but then the bar would be set too high for the rest of the bottlings.

  6. #6
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    Wild Turkey rye and Overholt rye are a good place to start. The other products are variations of the palate you will find there. Overholt's rye spec is about 60% even today and may represent what aged rye whiskey was like in Washinton's time. By the way some rye whiskey was aged at the time, a relatively small amount to be sure, but the effects of barrel aging were known, this is confirmed e.g., in Samuel M'Harry's distilling manual which was written circa 1910.

  7. #7
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    Quick question...in the article it says:

    "But real sipping ryes have been appearing on the market recently, mostly from bottlers such as Hirsch, Michter, Van Winkle and Black Maple Hill, which obtain their whiskey from various distillers and arrange for it to be aged long past the usual four years."

    Is Van Winkle just a bottler? That doesn't seem quite right to me.

    Mark

  8. #8

    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    ...Is Van Winkle just a bottler?..
    Julian's family has a long history in the bourbon industry. But the Van Winkles do not own/operate a working distillery, and haven't since Stitzel-Weller was sold to Somerset in 1972. So, is Julian 'just' a bottler? Heavens no -- he's just not a distiller. He has selected various whiskey stocks over the years -- including much Stitzel-Weller, made in the family tradition -- and crafts bottlings with a knowledgeable eye (and palate!) and experienced hand. His agreement with Buffalo Trace today calls for the distillery to make bourbon/rye using traditional Van Winkle recipes for distinct VW bottlings.

  9. #9
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    I remember reading in Sam Cecil's book where one of the distillers' would hang a plaque out when they were distilling whiskey for another bottling(they had bought the label); I wonder if they could do the same thing for Van Winkle, then the bottles could say distilled and bottled by...at least once the whiskey changes over

  10. #10
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    Re: Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back

    I found their tasting notes, well, interesting. I never would have said Saz was peaty. They also say that Beam does Old Overholt as PA style and Beam rye as MD style; can anyone verify that about Beam being MD style?

    Bob

 

 

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